Investigators recovered 34 kilograms of cocaine in Northwest Ocala Monday. Residents described the neighborhood as quiet and unassuming, but a long driveway at 1245 N.W. 73rd Terr. hid a dark secret from even the closest neighbors.
"We used to go to the beach all the time and just hang out," neighbor Timothy Kidd recalled. "I never really thought of anything was going on. It was a big secret."
Even Angel Avila's next door neighbor did not know what was going on behind closed doors until Tuesday - one day after Avila's arrest.
"A D.E.A. Agent knocked on my door around four o'clock this afternoon and was telling me what was going on over here," Charles Whitley said.
According to investigators, what was going on was a distribution center for cocaine and drug money. Marion County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Avila and three others on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
Investigators said they found over $700,000 in two vehicles leaving Avila's residence. Upon obtaining a search warrant, investigators then found 34 kilograms inside Avila's home.
"When we began investigating the organization, the information led us to believe that it was possibly of this magnitude," Marion County Sheriff's Capt. Lee Sullivan explained. "Until you can actually start to complete an investigation, it's hard to tell."
Sullivan said one of their first leads came friday, when Florida Highway Patrol Troopers stopped a car in Sumter County. Sumter County Sheriff's Deputies arrested four people and traced two kilograms of cocaine found in the car back to Marion County.
Investigators said most likely the suspects used the residence as a drug hub to transport money and distribute drugs not only in Marion County but throughout the state; these busts are parts of an on-going investigation.
"Being centrally located sometimes has its disadvantages," Sullivan said.
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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